Published: October 23, 2007
Show organizers are sometimes accused of relying too heavily on the tried and no longer so true. That could hardly be said of the Historical Society of Princeton, which last year turned to Rhinebeck, N.Y.-based Barn Star Promotions to help get all cylinders firing on its charity antiques event.
Benefiting the Historical Society of Princeton, the September 29″0 Princeton Fall Antiques and Fine Arts Show sets up in, yes, an airport hangar. Don’t worry about the TSA seizing your toothpaste. Nestled in farm fields on the outskirts of town, the Princeton Airport is small, friendly and family-owned. It regularly hosts public and private functions such as this one.
Airport owner Ken Nierenberg worked diligently alongside promoter Frank Gaglio to help make the Princeton Show a good looking, smooth running affair. The sound of small planes taking off and landing added to the lively buzz. Last year, one collector arrived by plane. A buyer came by helicopter this year.
Playfully picking up on the transportation theme, organizers featured vintage and specialty cars supplied by a local dealer, Princeton Cars, in a tent near the show entrance. What a smart way to reach a luxury-loving crossover crowd.
“I was thrilled with the show and with attendance,” Gaglio said afterward as he headed to Maryland for another engagement.
Tweaking the three-year-old event, Gaglio expanded the 10,000-square-foot hangar by joining it to a clear span tent of the same size, creating a level, pillar-free, high-ceilinged, 20,000-square-foot exhibit space. The floor of the tent was slightly raised in case of rain, an unnecessary precaution, as it turned out.
The manager also upped the number of exhibitors from 42 to 55. This is Barn Star’s most eclectic fair. To country furniture and folk art, Gaglio added formal furniture, English and Continental antiques, fine art, Twentieth Century design, garden antiques, vintage clothing, books, prints, posters, silver and jewelry. Sales were across the board. Wearable art and decorative accessories did particularly well.
Historical Society director Erin Doherty and event coordinator Barbara Webb saw to the myriad details of planning and executing the committee-run show.
“It was a tremendous weekend for the historical society,” said Doherty. “We had 350 people for the preview party on Friday night, 700 visitors on Saturday and 500 on Sunday.”
The café , moved from an offsite tent to the center of the floor, was a hub.
“It really encouraged people to stay and enjoy the show at a leisurely pace,” said Webb.
Special events, including a talk by Chris Jussel and an appraisal clinic hosted by John and Kathy Nye, drew visitors through the weekend.
“The Princeton show has come a long way in three years. Frank Gaglio has done a very nice job,” said Solebury, Penn., dealer Roger Winter, known for formal English and American furniture.
“Frank really runs a professional show,” concurred Stephen Shapiro of SAJE Americana, whose snappy stand housed a bold A.H. Isaac & L. Platt, New York, gilded pier mirror, a carved and gilded eagle plaque, a two-dimensional Uncle Sam figure in red, white and blue, and a horse weathervane.
“The crowd was good all the way through. The committee is active and enthusiastic. We sold small things, not furniture, but we will go back if asked,” said New Canaan, Conn., dealer Fred McClafferty.
Lynn Kurtz of Nest LLC of Hopewell Junction, N.J., requested a double booth for next year. Emphasizing stylish Twentieth Century furniture and accessories, Kurtz’s design-conscious display gave the show an up-to-the minute edge.
Long known for majolica, Bonnie Heller has expanded into Czech glass lighting produced between the world wars.
“I sold a dish-rimmed Chester County tea table,” said Long Island dealer Douglas Constant. Ed Weissman of Portsmouth, N.H., parted with a bow front chest of drawers. The Haneberg’s wrote up a card table and Virginian James Wilhoit found a new home for a small cherry bow front chest. We’re told that Orleans, Mass., dealer William Nickerson made several furniture sales, as well.
East Dennis Antiques of East Dennis, Mass., boasted an elegant Philadelphia classical card table attributed to Quervelle. A rare New Jersey map sampler was a highlight at Neverbird Antiques, Surrey, Va.
Charlie and Lisa Hammell of Noonmark Antiques, Moorestown, N.J., demonstrated their love of Americana and flair for presentation with a well-edited display of redware, painted furniture including Windsor chairs and primitive landscape paintings, one of their great loves.
Jim’s of Lambertville’s doublewide exhibit housed Rae Sloan Bredin’s sultry portrait “Polly in White.” A John Sloan barn and a Walter Baum snow scene faced each other from opposite walls.
J. Gallagher, the New York specialists in American classical furniture and fireplace equipment, erected a handsome stand opposite the café. “We feel fortunate to have this booth,” said Ruth Zager, who decorated a carved and painted mantel with bits of fall color.
Leo Arons, a longtime Princeton dealer with an always interesting inventory, offered a New England flattop highboy, an Italian commode and an English Regency writing desk against the colorful backdrop of an early Modern tapestry woven by Yvette Couquil-Prince, an artist who worked in Paris with Picasso, Matisse and others.
There were four jewelry dealers, each with his or her own perspective. Southampton, N.Y., dealer Brad Reh featured pieces by Oscar Heyman, one of his favorite designers. Great Barrington, Mass., dealer Ellen Ring, a Princeton native, emphasized classic, easy to wear pieces, both antique and contemporary.
Vintage couture dealer Katy Kane was ready for the holiday season with black velvet gowns and evening wraps.
Three years on, the Princeton Fall Antiques and Fine Arts Show is still growing.
“Frank was a little skeptical when he took us on,” admitted Barbara Frank. “But he is a true professional. He works extremely hard and makes us step up to the plate. He shows us the correct way to get things done. We are learning all the time.”
“We are trying to position ourselves as the show in New Jersey. Having completed our third year, we are confident that we have a long future,” said Erin Doherty.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm